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Every city in the US has a character all its own, and Colorado Springs is no exception. It’s a vibrant gem offering outdoor adventures, sublime mountain views and a spate of great places to eat and drink. All those things contributed to it earning the number two slot this year on U.S. News and World Report’s annual “best places to live” list.

RELATED: These Colorado ski towns are just as charming in summer


If you’d like to check it out for yourself, getting there is fairly easy from Denver International Airport, which is a hub for United Airlines. The two United Clubs in Denver are worth checking out: There, you’ll enjoy a little respite from the hustle and bustle of the airport terminal with awe-inspiring panoramas of the mountains as a backdrop. From the Denver airport, you’ll drive a little over an hour south, with the Colorado Rockies providing some of the best scenic views in the U.S. along the way. And then, once you’re in town, don’t miss these 10 essential things to do in and around this charming mountain city.

Tap the Rockies’ most famous mountain

Standing at a staggering elevation of 14,115 feet, Pikes Peak is one of the highest points in the U.S., and one of the nation’s most famous mountains. One of the more popular things to do is take the 2-3 hour drive to the summit.

Sip craft beer—everywhere!

The State of Colorado is known for its craft beer and breweries. So while you’re in Colorado Springs, be sure to visit spots like 719 Gastropub. This restaurant not only offers cuisine inspired by the varied regions of North America (including their take on Quebec’s famed poutine), but also more than 100 selections of beer!

Enjoy killer views from the comfort of your hotel

Centrally located to most things you’ll want to visit in Colorado Springs is the Hyatt Place Colorado Springs/Garden of the Gods. This contemporary hotel boasts a clean, upscale vibe that is complimented with a folksy charm via the hotel’s personable and service-minded Gallery Hosts. Plus, after you enjoy a wonderful nights sleep in your Hyatt Grand bed, you’ll awaken to a wonderful view (some of which face the Garden of the Gods), as well as hearty breakfast.

Blue skies with clouds over lookout view of Garden of the Gods

Take a hike

Roughly 10 minutes from the Hyatt Place is the Garden of the Gods. This landmark is adorned with 300 red rock formations including the ever popular “Balanced Rock,” a must for any Colorado Springs visit. True to its name, this rock is oddly, but naturally, “balanced” on its platform. It is quite a site to behold.

Eat like a king

From Four by Brother Luck’s regional fusion cuisine to casual global fare at the Margarita at Pine Creek to the irresistible eclairs found at Boonzaaijer’s Dutch Bakery, you’ll be be pleasantly surprised by all the dining options Colorado Springs has to offer. For Sunday brunch, don’t miss the impressive buffet at The Broadmoor Hotel. The quality of the food is surpassed only by the bounty which can be sampled again and again. And again. From the roasted Colorado leg of lamb, to the made-to-order benedict station, to the seafood and raw bar, to the bevy of dessert offerings, you could easily spend 3 hours grazing and enjoying all of the wonderful food here. Heads up: You can only get in with a reservation.

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Colorado Springs, CO/USA – Circa September 2016: A small waterfall at Broadmoor Seven Falls in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Take a tram (or elevator!) to seven natural wonders

After enjoying Sunday brunch at The Broadmoor, aid your digestion by visiting Seven Falls (which is adjacent to the hotel). Don’t worry, if you aren’t keen to walk the length of the trail which takes you to the viewing stations of this collection of cascading waterfalls, you can always hop a ride on one of the trams (as well as the mountain elevator) to help you enjoy the views of Seven Falls.

Try not to look down

So adrenaline junkies will be excited to experience the offerings of Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. This venue is located about an hour south of Colorado Springs and is well worth the drive. Built in 1929, the Royal Gorge Bridge remains the highest bridge in the U.S. (955 feet above the Arkansas River). In addition to the bridge, you are able to experience the Skycoaster, Zip Line and other interesting attractions.

Discover your animal instincts

Think you can find lions, bears, giraffes, elephants and more living above 6,200 feet? See them for yourself at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (the highest in elevation zoo in the United States).

Cave in

Since you’re in mountain country, why not explore them from within? Cave of the Winds offers a unique experience where you are able view all sorts of unique cave formations. But whatever you do, mind your head!

Live the healthy lifestyle

Between all the hiking, swimming and fresh mountain air, you’ll also find plenty of healthy dining options where you can count on menu items that were locally sourced and responsibly raised . One such place, known for its fantastic breakfast, is Over Easy. The fresh juice selections, Benedicts, stuffed French toast and strong coffee all add to the many wonderful experiences found in Colorado Springs.

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Tagged: Colorado, Denver

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Jason Gordon

Jason Gordon

Jason is executive producer of the multiple award-winning luxury travel series andiamo! UPTOWN (@andiamotv), which airs throughout the U.S. every week on Magic Johnson's Aspire channel.

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